EDSA Week of February was a busy one for me, as an MD, Masamang Damo still around (Butz, Joker, Boy Herrera, et al. gone). Monday, February 21 saw me at UP for a CARMMA (Coalition Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang) cameo appearance (I was very late, traffic). Midweek was at the Ateneo Law amphitheater on the launch of Raissa E. Robles’s gripping Marcos Martial Law: Never Again, with its detailed accounts of martial law atrocities. Karen Davila presided. I had written the Foreword. Two nights earlier, it was Tina Monzon Palma hosting a 90-minute ANC Talkback on martial law.
The next morning, I was at PTV4, where WAM (Women Against Marcos) presented their book with that title. Tuesday afternoon saw me in La Consolacion, with F. Sionil Jose, among others, hosted by PTV4. LaCo, Justice Elo Ynares-Santiago (ret.) attended before UP. She was the Makati Municipal Judge who in 1982 acquitted Anding Roces, who, asked to explain why he had boycotted Comelec registration, wrote the body: “The right to vote comes from the State. The right not to vote comes from God. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Elo courageously dismissed the case, displeasing the dictatorship at a time when even the Supreme Court, Macoy successfully terrorized. (Once in 1982, he announced that he was accepting the resignations of all the Justices, following a bar scandal. They might not have even known they had resigned. For a week we had no Supreme Court.)
“Gentlemen,” Anding told us (MABINI lawyers headed by Senator Lorenzo Tanada), “I was sure I had not registered but after hearing your cross-examination, I think I did.” Thus Shakespeare’s “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” They keep asking the foolish questions of the day. Now, BongBong, who fooled us with his alleged diplomas from England and the US, brags that Rizal, my home province with Jovy Salonga, Neptali Gonzalez and Bobbit Sanchez, among others, in effect, is a colony of Ilocandia. Is it? In 1975, his Mother took away 14 towns from Rizal, with out consulting us Rizalenos, say in a referendum. “The First Lady wants this” was law. For the longest time, Rizal had no capital (Antipolo now) and no capitol, either. Kayang-kaya ang kolonya.
The Marcoses returned billions of ill-gotten wealth following a July 15, 2003 Supreme Court decision. Why are ill-gotteners Imelda, Imee and Bongbong where they are?
I am glad that Ateneo stands up against historical revisionism of Martial Law. More than 400 Ateneo faculty members and formators had signed a statement rejecting the historical revisionism of the Martial Law years, in response to Sen. Bongbong’s statement that history should be left to historians and history students. Of course not.
1972-86 is not history but the living past. It is not on the level of the Massacre of Balangiga or Bud Dajo by the Americans of more than a century ago. A Japanese Premier visits a war shrine today and there would be rioting in Korea and China. The Ateneans say:
“We vow as teachers and formators to continue to tell the stories of the brutality and corruption of the Marcos family, regime, and closest allies. For as long as we remember and share these stories, we believe that future generations of Filipinos will learn the lessons of the years of struggle leading to the overthrow of the dictatorship during those historic days of the People Power Revolution in 1986.”
The statement also describes the Marcos regime’s indifference toward “inclusive development, long-term state building or genuine social transformation.” Individuals who defied the regime were “intimidated, imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured, or summarily executed,” the statement reads. The government, it further reads, should continue its fight in repossessing the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcos family and its cronies. “We call on all our politicians, especially those who are running for office in the 2016 national and local elections, to take a definite stand on the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship.”
The statement also reaffirms the responsibility of Ateneo teachers and formators to keep the “spirit of EDSA 1986” alive by imparting to the students the truth of what transpired during the Marcos dictatorship. “The fullness of democratization, especially the creation of a social order which respects the dignity of all Filipinos, has yet to be achieved. It is our responsibility now as a people to continue and complete this unfinished struggle.” Wow! Bilib.
I am waiting to hear from my alma mater, San Beda, and other schools, such as UST, La Salle, PMA, etc.. San Carlos of Cebu has been heard from: Anti-Restoration! My fellow Rizal Hi alums, Pat and Wilma Tiamzon, honor grads, continue to languish in jail. My fellow Rizalians should be saddened by the Ynareses’ proclamation that they are for the son of the dictator who dismembered our province, ruined our values, institutions and processes, negating what Rizalenos Salongas, et al., did during the unlamented dictatorship.
Wounds have not healed. The human rights victims in the thousands have not been compensated. The torturers are still around. I was told by human rights compensation board chief Lina Sarmiento last February 26 — iconic Ka Pepe Diokno’s 94th birth anniversary, which the Commission on Human Rights marked by inaugurating Bulwagang Ka Pepe — that it is doing what it could but the sheer number of claims (75T) slows them down. I tell my human rights studes to volunteer to help, particularly if they live in the Diliman area.
Another form of human rights abuse is that of Manny Pacquiao, a House, a Non-Performing Liability. Now instead of telling us his programs or platforms, he trains for his next fight, on which he issues statements. Oh, yes, we now know that he looks down on LGBTs as worse than animals, his future constituents,
given the seeming inevitability of Senator Manny. So better to keep quiet on national issues to avoid more gaffes?
Cheating in timing his next fight, the criminal genius should tell us his stand on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and on Sabah, on which his champion, Jojobama Binay, says he would reopen and press. To me, we should find out the sentiments of native Sabahans if they pine and long to be governed by Prezs Binay, Roxas, Duterte, Poe, or Santiago. Self-determination. I think we should govern ourselves well for Sabahans to yearn to be Filipinos (like Pinoys pining for Statehood).
Prez Pacquiao in 2022 a sweetener for Sabahans?
We Rizalenos were treated like Sabahans in 1975 by Macoy and Imelda. Macoy suggested that he dazzled the Supreme Court with his appellant’s Brief in his Nalundasan murder conviction. We lawyers who write briefs that are neither good law nor literature can perhaps take comfort in that ponente Justice Jose Laurel said of the efforts of Ferdinand Marcos and Leon Guerrero (then a Solicitor assisting Solicitor General Ozaeta) in the Nalundasan murder case: “A three-volume brief was filed by the appellant and a comprehensive brief submitted by the Government. Both briefs are however, more valuable for their literary value.” People v. Marcos, 70 Phil. 468, 472 (1940). It pays, as Al Smith would say, “to look at the record” instead of swallowing what revisionist hacks, fabulists, fictionists and crypto-biographers would say.
If Bongbong wins in May, his Prez should be very, very careful.
Will Grace be disqualified next week on residence? Maybe in the 70’s, and earlier. Today, anyone who cares can keep track of what goes on elsewhere given technological wonders: round-the-clock international radio-TV, newspapers, skype, cell phones, Internet, nonstop Manila-to-San Fran flight, etc.. The issue should not be decided by Jurassic standards. Let the people, not unelected officials, reject Grace. Its spirit ended the dictatorship, when the Supreme Court said on December 19, 1985 that the sovereign people should decide the most quintessential political question of all – who should lead us, for legitimacy and acceptability, an overriding policy consideration.
Caveat: I am not committed to vote for her but I am biased for foundlings as a Christian human rights lawyer.